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Old 09-07-2016, 06:50 PM   #1
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Tacoma , Washington
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Post A Newbies Cheat sheet

Hello everyone,

My wife and I jumped into the Airstream Interstate world, with both feet, this weekend and purchased a 2013 Airstream Interstate Twin (Protagonist would approve).

What we would like this Thread to focus on is "how to get up and running" from scratch.

We gave away a good portion of the Camping gear years ago, and the Boating stuff left with the first wife, so we are starting Class B life as rookies with a clean slate.

Does anyone have a good Checklist for the bare minimum necessities for stocking the Coach, and the bare minimum Tool Kit, for this new AI owner.

At this point, we will mostly be doing weekends by the Ocean or in the Mountains (until it snows) and have two week long trips from WA to CA to visit the college boy.

All hints and cheat sheets appreciated

- B Paradox
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:35 PM   #2
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Here's something I wrote for someone on another board who is just starting out, never having owned a RV before:

For full hookups, you're going to need a few extras.

- Fresh water hose, up to you if you also get a filter. I did as I'm picky about my water quality.
- Pressure regulator so you don't blow out your plumbing. Model, price, etc., vary based on quality and features, but be sure you use one. (Note: this advice was given to a non Airstream owner....our rigs have a built in pressure regulator so this isn't needed)
- Black water rinse hose, separate from fresh water hose!
- Disposable rubber gloves for the "dirty job" of hooking/unhooking sewer hose.
- Surge protector for electrical hookup to prevent spikes and drops from wrecking your new electrical system.
- 50A -> 30A adapter in case you can only find a spot w/ 50A service.
- Not sure if your rig has a macerator or gravity dump. If gravity, get one of those collapsible stands for the sewer hose to make sure it flows downhill. (again, this doesn't apply to your rig as I believe it has a macerator).

That should get you started.

When hooking up the water, be sure your inside faucets are off before turning the shore water on. You don't want to be outside fiddling with connections and have water running in your sink only to realize you had the drain closed and now your new rig has water all over the floor! Seen it happen, don't let it be you.....

One last note. When connecting to park power, make sure the breaker on their box is OFF before hooking up the surge protector and house power. Once everything is connected, then flip the shore power on.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:42 PM   #3
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In addition to the basic RV accessories, add a first aid kit, multi-meter (or at least a 12v and 120v circuit tester), 2 adjustable end wrenches, screwdrivers, alen wrenches, star tools, multi-tool (leather man), electrical tape, duct tape, a couple feet of wire (to tie things up or jumper a bad circuit), assorted tie wraps, spare fuses, a spare fuel filter (because bad fuel can happen), nitrile gloves (because sh!t happens), epoxy putty stick, tire pressure gauge, flashlight, flip-flops (for when showering in campgrounds), bubble level....
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:49 PM   #4
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Congratulations B Paradox! My wife and I also just purchased an AI the week before last and took our first "shakedown" cruise last weekend. We learned the following:
1. We needed a thicker pillow-topper for the fold-down sofa area.
2. Showering like a normal person is impossible - but doable.
3. Our 2014 Ext. Lounge drives beautifully, gets great mileage.
4. While personal space disappears (with the two of us and the dog), there really is plenty of space for all you need for short trips of a few days.
5. We must keep a full LP tank, since so much depends on it.
6. We can't wait to get back out there, and have planned a long trip in a couple of weeks.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:35 PM   #5
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Welcome to the AirForums.

Check the Small Space Living thread for lots of ideas on ways to use the limited space efficiently.

Channel Locks. Be sure the tire pressure gauge is a double-ended one so you can check the rear duals. Avoid bio-diesel even tho MB says 5% is OK. If the front tires show excessive wear on the outside rib, get a front-end alignment and request the camber be set as close to 0 as the specs or camber bolts allow. Be careful backing up near curbs or rising ground as the LP fill in the box behind the curb side rear wheels hangs down close to the ground.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:47 PM   #6
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You will also want to have some leveling blocks. You can buy the interlocking type or make your own. Just make sure if you're using levelers under the rear wheels to put them under all four of the dual wheels.
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Old 09-08-2016, 06:29 AM   #7
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Welcome to Air Forums!

I realized personal success on the checklist front only after I split them into "what to do" and "what to take".

My "what to do" checklist is actually a magnetic do-done list and is described in this blog post.

My "what to take" is an all-scenario generic paper list. I print out one blank copy for each trip and check off those items that apply to the specific trip scenario as they are loaded into the Interstate. My trips are variable in their intent, so that's really important for me (work trip vs. non-work trip, short trip vs. long trip, urban vs. wilderness, with husband vs. without husband, with dog vs. without dog, socializing vs. not socializing, hot weather vs. cool weather, boondocking vs. hooking-up, etc.).
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:51 AM   #8
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Also being a Newbie, I also have questions and hope y'all don't mind me horning in on the thread. We seem to be planning on using our AI every 2 to 4 weeks, so I'm leaving it plugged into shore power at our house, but not cutting DC power. Does that sound O.K.? Also, should I start the MB engine at some regular interval? I'm sure I'll have winterizing questions, but also sure that's another thread. Thanks.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:28 AM   #9
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Electric space heater for when plugged in to minimize LP use and a fan to circulate air.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:43 AM   #10
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In other posts I have seen 60-65 psi as the recommended tire pressure and also recommendations to align the front end if the outside of the front tires wear. I went to an alignment shop and was told that it looks like I was running too low of tire pressure. He said that the Continentals like to 80psi stated on the tire BUT the rubber stems on the rear rims don't like 80 psi. So they installed metal stems, rotated the rears to the front, and set them to 80 psi. 6000 miles later I can see no outside wear on the now-front tires. I am sure that mis-alignment can cause outside tire wear, but so too can too low of pressure.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmonkey View Post
I'm leaving it plugged into shore power at our house, but not cutting DC power. Does that sound O.K.?
Yes, that's fine, and per a discussion that I just had with an Airstream tech on this subject, connecting to shore power is the best way to keep the batteries fully charged.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
In other posts I have seen 60-65 psi as the recommended tire pressure and also recommendations to align the front end if the outside of the front tires wear. I went to an alignment shop and was told that it looks like I was running too low of tire pressure. He said that the Continentals like to 80psi stated on the tire BUT the rubber stems on the rear rims don't like 80 psi. So they installed metal stems, rotated the rears to the front, and set them to 80 psi. 6000 miles later I can see no outside wear on the now-front tires. I am sure that mis-alignment can cause outside tire wear, but so too can too low of pressure.
Here is a cut/paste from my owner's manual on my '17 AI Lounge:

Tire Size with Maximum Inflation Pressure
Cold

• LT 215/85 R16 - 61 psi

If your tires state 80 psi max cold psi, I guess that's what you should run, but doesn't that make for a really harsh ride?

P.S. I see there is a lot of debate about what pressure to run the Conti tires at. You may want to read some of the other forum posts about it, but the consensus seems to be that 80psi is well beyond what's necessary for the size/weight on our rigs, and running at that pressure will result in lost grip/handling and a harsher ride......
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:13 PM   #13
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Here is one I did when I bought mine.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...ed-144940.html
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
Tire Size with Maximum Inflation Pressure
Cold

• LT 215/85 R16 - 61 psi

If your tires state 80 psi max cold psi, I guess that's what you should run, but doesn't that make for a really harsh ride?
That's not right. "Max cold psi" is a "do not exceed" value. You should always inflate to…
the calculated inflation based on load tables;
the vehicle owner's manual maximum; or
the tire manufacturer's maximum,
whichever is least.
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